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Airport History

old-airport-strip
Photography by Larry Hill

Friedman Memorial Airport has been in existence since shortly after the Wright Brothers flew the first manned aircraft 100 years ago. There is photo documentation of the site presently known as Friedman Memorial Airport being utilized for aviation as early as 1916. The original airport was officially recognized as such in 1932 after much of the land upon which it is located was donated to the City of Hailey in 1931 by the Friedman Family. Since then, the Airport expanded and grew conservatively through investment by Blaine County, State and FAA Grant funding. On August 1, 1960, the Airport experienced the advent of commercial, scheduled passenger service with the arrival of West Coast Airlines. Since then, several other scheduled air carriers and numerous other commercial aviation ventures have thrived serving Hailey, the Wood River Valley and Central Idaho. The Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Airport Staff have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the community through support of and participation in a variety of interest areas. These areas include but are not limited to:

1st-commercial-airplane-to-land-at-fma
1st Commercial Plane to arrive at FMA

  • Long term associations in the Hailey and Ketchum/Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Wood River
  • Economic Partnership, and Fly Sun Valley Alliance.
  • Regular hosts of community events to include Airport
  • Appreciation Days and Business After Hours.
  • Long term supporters of Hailey youth to include airport tours and employment to provide student exposure to the Airport and aviation.
  • The Airport Authority and
  • Staff have worked diligently to improve community-related environmental and safety issues through its "Good Neighbor" noise abatement program. The airport has received national recognition for its work in noise abatement.

The Friedman Memorial Airport Authority was formed in 1994, replacing the Blaine County Airport Commission. The present Authority is an extremely dedicated group of community leaders. Some of the present Authority members' service and commitment date back better than 14 years.

Of the twelve current staff members, 4 have been employed at the Airport in excess of 20 years and 5 staff members have been employed at the Airport in excess of 10 years. The Airport Manager, Operations and Emergency Services Chief and Finance/Contracts Administrator have all been participants and achieved positions of leadership and policy making in a variety of state, national and international organizations. Friedman Memorial Airport has attracted significant attention to itself and Hailey through numerous distinctions awarded by state, national and international organizations.


Grass Strip Airfield

 

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